|Friday, May 19, 2000,
CAG: debt-trap is tightening its
Indian firms dominate top
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has warned that the rising market borrowing of the Government would lead to a debt-trap and restrict its room for fiscal manoeuvrability.
The Government is consistently compressing capital expenditure and depending heavily on borrowed funds in its anxiety to contain galloping expenditure in the wake of declining revenue receipts, the CAG said in its latest report submitted to Parliament.
This would inevitably result in heavier interest burden, restricting the room for manoeuvrability and thwarting the possibility of augmenting capital expenditure in any significant manner, the report for 1998-99 said.
Stating that almost the entire borrowed funds were being used to pay interest on previous borrowings, the report said interest payments of the Centre increased by a whopping 110 per cent in the last five years.
It said the interest payments of the government at Rs 77,882 crore in 1998-99, were 68 per cent of the total fiscal deficit, the highest since 1976-77.
Governments borrowing as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) grew to 6.74 per cent in 1998-99 from 5.31 per cent two years ago, while interest payments grew from 1.62 per cent of GDP in 1976-77 to 4.42 per cent in 1998-99.
Another disturbing trend, it said, was that increase in revenue expenditure was overshooting revenue receipts, while the capital expenditure was declining steadily.
In order to reduce and eventually eliminate revenue deficit altogether, greater attention is required to be paid in revenue collection, widening of tax base and further strengthening of non-tax revenue base, CAG said.
CAG recommended that fiscal responsibility in the matter of borrowings, use of funds, aberrant budgetary assumptions reported to Parliament and cases of significant deviations from fiscal rules, ought to be established through an act.
The Government should expedite enactment of the proposed fiscal responsibility act to address these issues, it said.
The report said policy measures may be considered to strengthen the resource application regime in order to allow borrowed funds to be applied for asset creation.
More than expenditure control, it is by augmenting the resource generation that a turnaround can be achieved, it said, adding since the tax revenues is at an all time low of 8.16 per cent GDP, there is great deal of scope for raising the tax collection.
CAG also pointed out that while addition of market loans at a higher rate of interest doubled, the soft external loans remained unutilised.
Much of the unutilised
external assistance, which is estimated at Rs 50,156.67
crore in 1998-99, is for projects in infrastructure
sector including Rs 10,320 crore in power sector, Rs
13,353 crore in social sector, Rs 7,205 crore in water
management and Rs 5,044 crore in roads, it said.
enters 10 Punjab colleges
CHANDIGARH, May 18 NIIT has been entrusted with the task of providing IT education in 10 government colleges in Punjab. Besides, the company has presented to the State Government a self-sustaining model of IT education for 5,000 Punjab schools involving an investment of about Rs 100 crore.
Announcing this in an interview here today, Ms Madhulika Tripathi, Vice-President, NIIT, said the selected government colleges are located at Dera Bassi, Bathinda, Tanda, Sunam, Kotkapura, Ludhiana, Jandiala Guru, Amritsar etc.
About the schools, she said she expected a positive decision from the State Government within two or three days.
Ms Tripathi, who is a member of Punjabs IT Task Force, and is also associated with IT programmes of Haryana and Himachal, said the State Government will not have to make any investment. And the students will not be required to pay more than Rs 100 as fee for IT education.
To be IT savy, a State must have (a) trained manpower (hence IT education) (b) IT companies to absorb skilled manpower for which NIIT is nurturing companies and (c) infrastructure.
Punjab is the first State in the country where NIIT has started this IT development model. Out of its 60 business partners, at least eight to 10 will graduate to set up own IT companies with NIIT support, said Ms Tripathi, who was in Chandigarh to launch convergence-driven e-commerce technologies.
NIIT has launched a series of programmes to help learners gain an edge in e-commerce and convergence application skills, she said.
Mr Pratap K Aggarwal, NIITs local business partner, said: eCom with Convergence has been launched at the five NIIT centres in Chandigarh and a centre in Shimla.
Ms Tripathi said the programmes will equip an IT professional to become an e-commerce applications developer, e-commerce database manager, e-commerce convergence technologist or e-commerce frame work expert depending on the area of interest.
new web centric curriculum, Ms Tripathi said there are
three areas needing NIIT support enhanced computer
practice sessions, a methodology involving application of
skills on real-life problems faced by software developers
and a strong web centric curriculum.
firms dominate top 100 list
NEW YORK, May 18 Indian Americans dominate the Top 100 private companies list of Upside, a respected online magazine, which says these companies would significantly effect the US economy when they go public.
Selected from 650 self-nominated companies, the 100 are among the hottest in an already hot marketplace, said Upside. Companies that will possibly fuel Nasdaqs eventual run over the 6,000 point mark, these companies are going to make a difference in the US economy, the magazine said.
It said it looked for companies that are likely to withstand the test of time, not just their initial public offerings, but companies likely to become the blue-chip stocks of the new economy.
Upsides criteria for selection included a belief that the companies had identified niches they will be able to exploit. Companies that have spent several years developing technologies that will bring useful innovation to business, and finally, companies with management teams capable of leading these fledgling firms for years to come. All the companies are on an average five years old, which to an extent displays their staying power.
In the field of semiconductor firms, Compression, a company that targets the manufacturers of consumer entertainment devices, whose chairman is Govind Kezhepat, made the grade. In its third round of funding, Compression investors include Benchmark Capital, Lucent, and Seagate.
Numerical Technologies Inc., designers and manufacturers of integrated circuits, has Y.C. (Buno) Pati as CEO, and Atul Sharan, vice president marketing.
In the Networking
sector, Upside identified among others, SkyStream
Networks, which targets digital broadcast companies
(local television stations), satellite, digital cable
operators and Internet service providers. Its executive
team includes Chandy Nilakantan, chief technical officer
and Vice-President, engineering. IANS
company to set up chapter at Mohali
CHANDIGARH, May 18 The Indus Entrepreneurs(TiE), an organisation of entrepreneurs from Indian sub-continent in the silicon valley of the USA, has agreed to open its chapter in Mohali.
Headed by Mr Kanwal Rekhi, a Punjabi NRI, Indus Entrepreneurs had a detailed interaction with a delegation from Punjab which visited the USA last week and also participated in the Tiecon 2000-Entrepreneurship in 21st Century held at San Jose.
Disclosing this, the Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, who led the delegation , said that a team of TiE would visit the State in September for setting up the chapter. The other members of the delegation were Mr Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, Director-cum-Special Secretary, Department of Information Systems and Administrative Reforms, Mr G.S. Pirzada, Managing Director and Mr Rakesh Nangia, Executive Director of the Electronics Corporation of Punjab, respectively.
Mr Pirzada would remain in the USA till the last week of this month for continuing negotiations with some entrepreneurs interested in setting up their units in Mohali which has been declared as IT city of Punjab in an IT package announced by the State Government a few weeks ago.
In fact, TiE has very eminent Punjabis including Mr Vinod Dham, who was recently honoured by the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, Mr Arjun Malhotra, Chairman and Chief Executive of Tech Span and Mr Jagdeep Singh, a 32-year-old multi millionaire and Mr Sanjiv Sidhu, another big name often compared with Bill Gates, as its members.
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh said the delegation was sent by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal to interact and persuade the leaders of chip industry of Silicon valley to invest in Mohali where a software Technology Park had been established. The delegation members assured single stop clearance to all investors.
While submitting his report to the Chief Minister, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh has proposed to set up a forum named as Punjab Technology Initiative. Mr Kanwal Rekhi, Mr Vinod Dham, Mr Arjun Malhotra, Mr Jagdeep Singh, Dr Prithipal Singh, Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, Mr F.C. Kohli, Mr Sanjiv Sidhu, all from USA and Mr Chander Mohan, Mr S.P. Oswal, both local industrialists, two or three local experts and two or three officers connected with technology should be taken as members of the forum. The Forum would guide the State Government and all others concerned on technologies for the future.
Punjab has already started lobbying for the setting up of one Global Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) at Mohali. A group of six entrepreneurs is funding the opening of such institutes in India at a cost of $ 1 billion (Rs 4400 crore). Punjab is trying to woo all pressure groups who have say in deciding the location of GISTs in India.
For making available high quality trained manpower for the units to be promoted by NRIs in Punjab, a proposal to set up a National Institute of Information and Technology has also been mooted.
Setting up of the Internet gateway at Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar have also been proposed and Technical University at Jalandhar should enter in collaboration with Stanford, Berkley universities.
The delegation members
held discussion with owners of silicon spice, GeoTouch,
ASMAsoft, Compu Info-Siva Coramotta, Mr Baldev Munger of
Fresno, Asia Pacific Centre, Stanford University, Dr Gill
from Vancouver. They are keen to set up shops as Mohali,
Mr Ramesh Inder Singh said.
price gap may lure private traders
LUDHIANA, May 18 A wide gap between the minimum support price (MSP) and the issue price of wheat announced this year by the Government of India threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium between the wheat arrivals and its procurement by official agencies and private traders in Punjab.
The MSP for wheat has been set at Rs 580 per quintal by the Centre this year. The issue price for wheat through the fair price shops has been fixed at Rs 900 per quintal. According to sources in the wheat trade at Khanna, Asias biggest grain market, the wide difference between the procurement price and the issue price may encourage the big farmers to hold back stocks in the hope of making a quick profit later. This will also attract the private traders in a big way to the Punjab mandis.
Officials of the Food Department and the FCI expect the private traders to play a much larger role in wheat procurement operations in Punjab this year as compared to previous year. Traders from outside the state are expected to make purchases in a big way. Private traders purchased about 1 lakh mt of wheat, last year. This year their purchases may be of the order of 5 lakh mt or higher.
The estimates prepared by Punjab Agricultural University here show that the overall yield of the wheat crop in the state will decrease. The prime reasons for the downfall in the production is said to be the prolonged foggy weather and less rains. According to estimates of the Punjab Agriculture Department, wheat production is expected to be of the order 140 lakh mt and the area under wheat cultivation would be 33.38 lakh hectares. Last year also wheat production in Punjab was of the same order and area under wheat cultivation was also same.
Of the 140 lakh mt of wheat produced this year, not more than 90 lakh mt is expected to arrive in the grain markets of the state. Nearly 33 per cent of the total arrivals is expected to be procured by the FCI. It has set a target of procuring 28.70 lakh mt this year as against 24.57 lakh mt last year.
A total of 1,554 mandis have been set up in Punjab for the procurement of wheat. Of these 446 have been allotted exclusively to the FCI while another 49 are shared with the state government procurement agencies. The remaining 1,059 mandis have been allotted to the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Markfed, Punsup, PSWC and PAIC.
Wheat procurement has
begun in right earnest. Wheat arrivals so far total 2.39
lakh mt of which 2.10 lakh mt has been procured by the
FCI and the state government procurement agencies. The
rates vary between Rs 580 and Rs 675 per quintal. Despite
higher purchases by the private traders this year, the
FCI is confident of hitting of its procurement target of
28.70 lakh mt.
hold meet on Himachal
CHANDIGARH, May 18 The Government of Himachal Pradesh in partnership with CII is organising a conference on investment opportunities in the State on May 19. The conference will focus on information technology, high value textiles, private sector investment in knowledge-based institutions of excellence and industrialisation of Himachal Pradesh in retrospect.
The four concurrent sessions will be chaired by Mr Harsh Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries; Mr Sachit Jain, Chairman Textile Committee, CII Northern Region and Executive Director, Vardhman group; Mr Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII Northern Region and Chairman, Feedback Ventures, and Mr Saurabh Srivastav, CEO, IIS Infotech.
CII is also organising the first ever Business Editors Meet in Shimla on May 20. Against the backdrop of NCAERs recent report on state finances in Northern India which was sponsored by CII, the theme chosen for this meet is: Is North India getting marginalised?
Mr A.V. Singh, Principal Secretary, Industries, UP; Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, Secretary Finance, Punjab and Mr Harsh Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) will make presentations on the recent economic initiatives in their respective States. Mr A.K. Goswami, Chief Secretary, Himachal will be the guest of honour. The industry viewpoint will be projected by Mr Vinayak Chatterjee, Chairman, CII Northern Region.
Dont panic on being one billion: Amartya
CALCUTTA, May 18 (PTI) Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen today said Indias population crossing the one billion mark was no reason to panic since the countrys food production had also gone up exponentially in the last few decades to cope up with increasing needs.
Interacting with school
students at the 150 year celebrations of the Bethun
collegiate here, Sen said, I dont think there
is much cause for concern because as the population has
increased, so has the food production. Though the
country needed to cut down on the current population
growth rate, it was not something to be alarmed of, said
the eminent economist who is here to take back his ailing
mother to Cambridge.
ITI-Compaq tieup to set up centre
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) State owned Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) and global IT major Compaq today joined hands to set up an expertise centre in India to provide telecom solutions. As part of an MoU, ITI would provide consultancy and training, integrate and customise solutions, and Compaq would offer end-to-end technology solutions for e-commerce and Telecom Integrated Management Systems along with development of billing solutions.
Dabur Foods may break even cuts
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI) Daburs Foods business is likely to break even this year, after a run of losses for over two years, largely due to cost-cutting measures, economies of scale and hike in product prices. We are sure to break even this year and this has been possible due to tight cost management and better capacity utilisation for Real brand of fruit juices, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Dabur Foods Amit Burman told PTI.
Cadila ties-up with Bio-tech Dept
AHMEDABAD, May 18 (PTI) Cadila Pharmaceuticals, has tied up with the Department of Bio-technology for a host of biotechnologies in the fields of plant tissue culture, bio-fertiliser and animal feed supplement. The technology transfers have been formally announced by Union Minister for Human Resources and Development, Science and Technology, Dr M.M. Joshi, at a function held in New Delhi recently, a company release said.
Dunlop starts production today
CALCUTTA, May 18 (PTI) Dunlop India Limited, closed for over two years, would commence manufacturing of tyres at both its Sahaganj and Ambattur plants tomorrow. Company President M.D. Shukla said today that commencement of production, which was expected to take four-five weeks from opening of the units in early February, was delayed due to repair and maintenance works. The company plans to operate the plants at 40 per cent capacity during the initial months which would enable it to break even, Shukla said in a statement here.
Morepen to kickstart roadshows
NEW DELHI, May 18 (PTI)
Morepen Laboratories will kickstart roadshows for
its proposed American Depository Receipts (ADR) issue in
July, a top company official said. The company was yet to
finalise the size of the ADR issue Suri said adding that
the main purpose of the issue was to get listed on Nasdaq
and not raising funds. However, reports suggested that
the company was planning to mop up $ 150-200 million
through the ADR issue.
LUDHIANA, May 18 The Ludhiana Traders and Manufacturers Association (LTMA) has decried the disparity in octroi rates in major towns of the State which were loaded against the interests of traders and manufacturers in the city. Addressing a news conference here last evening, the newly elected President of LTMA, Mr Dhiraj Gupta, pointed out that octroi rates on several items were two of three times more in Ludhiana as compared to those being charged in Jalandhar and Amritsar. The higher octroi incurred by local trade and industry tended to jack up the purchase price or cost of production and rendered the local market uncompetitive.
LUDHIANA, May 18 Mr V.P. Chopra, President, Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations, Ludhiana has been nominated a member of the zonal watch dog committee. It is the first time that such a committee has been constituted to watch the interest of the exporters of the concerned zone.
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 18 The district officials will not harass the industrialists and traders unnecessarily and their genuine problems will be sorted out on priority basis, said Mr B.S. Sudan Deputy Commissioner while addressing the meeting of Gobindgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the members of All-India Steel Re-rollers Association at Mandi Gobindgarh today.
NEW DELHI, May 18 Paramount Communication, a telecom major, has been granted national ISP licence by the Department of Telecom. The firm plans to enter the ISP sector in a couple of months, had posted a turnover of Rs 130 crore during the fiscal 1999-2000, a company release said today.
CHANDIGARH, May 18 State Bank of India, SBS Road, Ludhiana branch organised an adult literacy programme, in which 50 adults participated. The participants were taught basic vernaculars by the staff members of the branch.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |